regional integration

‘We cannot relax our goal of perfecting Regional integration’ – CARICOM Chair

Chairman of CARICOM the Rt. Hon. Freundel Stuart (CARICOM Photo)
Chairman of CARICOM the Rt. Hon. Freundel Stuart (CARICOM Photo)

BRIDGETOWN – Chairman of the Conference of the CARICOM Heads of Government the Rt. Hon Freundel Stuart, Prime Minister of Barbados said that the goal of perfecting regional integration must remain paramount for the Caribbean Community. He was speaking at the opening ceremony of the 36th Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM in Bridgetown, Barbados on Thursday. The Meeting is being held under the theme Vibrant Societies, Resilient Economies.

There will never come a time when we will be able to fold our arms and proclaim now the work is o’er the integration movement is perfect. We cannot and should not relax the goal of making our integration movement a perfect one,” Prime Minister Stuart said.

The Barbados Prime Minister said that it was the responsibility of CARICOM leaders to “raise the gaze of our people to new horizons.” He said that in a structured manner, idle hands should be mobilised around the idle lands in the Region.

Pointing to successes in various areas such as sports and culture,the Prime Minister stated that the vibrant societies in CARICOM had put it in the favourable position of being able to undertake with confidence the task of building resilient economies. He said the Caribbean was a civilisation which had always had much to share with the rest of the world and small size had never determined the capacity of a people to nudge history in any particular direction.

In closing Prime Minister Stuart reiterated his message on integration quoting CARICOM founding father Dr. Eric Williams’ words on the occasion of the signing of the Treaty of Chaguaramas: “All our strength is in our union, all our danger is in discord”.

Read Prime Minister Freundel Stuart’s Remarks

PM Harris calls on DR to cease, desist

Dr Timothy Harris addresses the 32nd CARICOM Heads of Government Meeting. (CARICOM Photo)
Dr Timothy Harris addresses the 32nd CARICOM Heads of Government Meeting. (CARICOM Photo)

BRIDGETOWN – Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris has called on Dominican Republic authorities to cease and desist with any plan that would lead to the expulsion of Dominicans of Haitian descent and render them stateless.

Dr. Harris was addressing the opening ceremony of the 36th Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM in Bridgetown, Barbados on Thursday. The Meeting is being held under the theme Vibrant Societies, Resilient Economies.

Prime Minister Harris, who was elected to office in February, said the people of St.Kitts and Nevis shared the pain and anguish of the unfortunate Dominicans of Haitian descent and stood with them in opposition to the present assault on their human rights and dignity.

There is no other time for which Regional unity and solidarity are more important than with the current humanitarian and human rights crisis affecting our Haitian brethren and the beleaguered Dominicans of Haitian descent, documented or not, born and living in the Dominican Republic,” said Dr. Harris

Continuing on the theme of Regional Integration, he also expressed that unity among member states was a vital strategy for building the economic resilience of CARICOM. According to him, CARICOM Member States were at the front lines of some of the most serious global problems, whose impacts bear on them disproportionately and pose a threat to their way of life, welfare and existence. He noted however that the people of the Community recognized the value of being together as small states in a competitive and asymmetrical world.

The people of our Community have declared resolutely that after more than four hundred years of being acted upon it is time for us to act for ourselves and to do for ourselves what no one else can, will or should do for us. Dr. Harris said.

The St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister also spoke of several major international meetings that will be held in the upcoming months including the United Nations Post-2015 Development Agenda; the Third International Conference on Financing for Development and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference. He said the meetings provided an ideal opportunity for the Caribbean Community to leverage the full weight of its collective voice and vote to ensure its effective and meaningful participation in those negotiations, asserting and inserting a small state perspective and protecting the interests of the people.

He said that there would also be the opportunity to engender a paradigm shift that allowed the independent nations of the Region to break free from outdated systems, agendas and philosophies.

In closing, Prime Minister Harris used the opportunity to provide assurance of his government’s commitment to carry the CARICOM integration process forward.

Long live Caribbean Unity,Long Live CARICOM,” he said.